When Had We Left The Jungle?

I wasn’t aware that we had.

Jungle

WTO Faces Existential Threat in Times of Trump -U.S. President Donald Trump has set his sights squarely on the World Trade Organization in Geneva. Even its critics are worried that without the organization, the world of trade would revert to the law of the jungle.

The U.S. and other industrialized nations made several concessions to developing economies when the WTO was founded in 1995 and significantly reduced their tariffs. In return, they were able to push through stronger protections for intellectual property. They hoped that the strategy would help slow China’s rise.

But from the U.S. perspective, the system has not been beneficial. And once China joined the WTO in 2001, that dissatisfaction only grew, partly because the Chinese proved adept at taking advantage of the rules. Even today, there is significant dissent within the WTO because the economic superpower China is still classified as a “developing nation” by the organization, which gives it certain privileges. On the other hand, China is fighting for recognition as a market economy, to which both the U.S. and the European Union are opposed because it would mean they could no longer defend themselves against state-subsidized Chinese exports with anti-dumping duties.

On top of all that, the WTO is facing a more fundamental problem: its size and its sluggishness. Negotiating rounds focused on removing tariffs have become increasingly complex. And because everything is up for negotiation at the same time, every member state can paralyze the process by simply exercising its veto. The Doha Round, launched in 2001, is a perfect example: It never achieved any results and has become symbolic of the WTO’s failure.

“The problems are coming from the behavior of a single country that would like to return to the jungle.”

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“Not Deployable For Collective Defense”

Three years ago, Germany’s military made headlines when it used broomsticks instead of machine guns during a NATO exercise because of a shortage of equipment. The lack of real weapons in the European Union’s most populous nation was seen as symptomatic of how underfunded its military has long been.

Germany

One Russian annexation later, if anything, the state of affairs has only gotten worse, according to the parliamentary commissioner for the country’s armed forces.

He has now reached the conclusion that the German military is virtually “not deployable for collective defense,” at the moment. Independent commissioner Hans-Peter Bartels also indicated in a recent interview that Germany was unprepared for the possibility of a larger conflict even though smaller operations abroad may still be possible.

Meanwhile… Rising exports, Turkish tanks fuel German arms sales debate.

Again: Germany’s army is an alibi army that will never be used for anything other than to make Germans feel better (less worse?) about being 1) pacifists while being at the same time 2) the world’s third largest weapons exporter. Remember this when the next demand for them to spend 2 percent GDP on their defense comes up and they start to fidget – and get away with not spending it again.

Germans Worried About Low Angst Level

Concerned about the traditional German angst about sozialer Abstieg (personal social decline) is currently at an all-time low, a number of German angst experts are recommending that radical options be considered when next month’s election rolls around.

Hafen

“We could all vote for the SPD, for instance,” said one less than thoroughly angst-filled social worker, with a stress on social. “That would bring my angst about social decline shooting back to appropriate levels in no time. I’m not sure if I’m quite ready for the Left party yet, though. I do have heart problems, after all.”

Die Wirtschaft wächst – und die Deutschen fühlen sich so sicher wie seit fast drei Jahrzehnten nicht. Laut einer Erhebung der Universität Leipzig hat nur noch jeder Dritte Abstiegsängste.

PS: To help folks combat their angst about not having enough angst, somebody has introduced Donald Trump ecstasy pills over here. They are guaranteed to stick in any German throat that tries to swallow them, however.

German Factory Production Drops Unexpectedly In June

But don’t you worry about that, New York Times. I know how the Germans tick and they’ll be churning out those factories again at full speed in no time.

Production

The Federal Statistical Office said Monday that June industrial output was down 1.1 percent over the previous month with drops in the production of capital, consumer and intermediate goods. Economists had predicted a slight rise, but only energy sector production grew.

Deutsche Produktion sinkt überraschend – Ökonomen hatten einen neuen Schub für die deutsche Wirtschaft erwartet. Doch sie wurden enttäuscht, die Industrieproduktion gibt nach. Experten machen dennoch Hoffnung.

 

VW?

As in Very Wicked?

VW

What’s with German automobile companies these days? As if their latest foray into organized crime wasn’t enough, now it’s reported that VW was active in helping Brazil’s military dictatorship persecute opponents back in the day. Volkswagen and military dictatorships? No way.

The accusations are not new, but have resurfaced through a new investigation done by a group of German news organizations. According to the group, Germany’s largest car manufacturer, Volkswagen, was an active participant in the persecution and oppression of political opponents of Brazil’s military dictatorship that was in power from 1964 to 1985.

The company’s Brazilian subsidiary, Volkswagen do Brasil, which has been active in the country since the early 1950s, is accused of spying on some workers and looking into their political convictions, information that was then handed over to the police.

Damn. This gives Made in Germany a whole new meaning – again.

Deutsche Medien haben nach eigenen Angaben Belege dafür gefunden, dass Volkswagen sich in der Zeit der brasilianischen Militärdiktatur aktiv an politischer Verfolgung und Unterdrückung beteiligt hat.

600,000 Jobs

More or less.

According to a study conducted by the ifo economic institute, some 600,000 jobs in the German automobile industry would be lost if the planned ban on combustion engines in Germany in 2030 goes through, which of course it will and must (this is Germany, after all).

Morgenthau

Damn. The Greens & Co. have developed a little Morgenthau Plan of their own. A little late, but still. Germany as Agrarland (agricultural country)? Why not? Germany first or something.

Mehr als 600.000 deutsche Industriearbeitsplätze wären laut einer Studie direkt oder indirekt betroffen, wenn ab 2030 keine Autos mit Verbrennungsmotoren mehr zugelassen werden dürften.

Germany Leaps Forward Again

In the saving the world game, I mean.

Unsinn

And here you thought the Germans shutting down their nuclear power plants after an accident in Japan was hardcore enough (and it was). Now they’re going to outlaw internal combustion engines (albeit not until the year 2030).

Amazing Scheiße, I find. It does make me wonder what they’re going to be outlawing next, however. I would have bet on the wheel but it’ll be pretty much taken care of as soon as the internal combustion engines go so I’m now going to put my money on fire itself. Do you have any idea how much CO2 cooking your food releases into the atmosphere? Me neither, but you can be sure that it’s way too much. At least in Germany.

Being a subscriber to Mad Magazine, when I first saw the title of this article at Gizmodo recently, I assumed I’d mixed up my bookmarks and gone to the wrong site. “German Lawmakers Vote to Ban the Internal Combustion Engine.” Oh, come on, man. That can’t be right, can it? The home of some of the higher performance engines in the history of fine cars can’t seriously be talking about this, can they? Well color me embarrassed because, with a few caveats, it turned out to be true.

Latest Imperial Decree In The Pipeline

Much like the repeated (and ignored) calls for “contingents” of refugees to be fairly distributed across the rest of EU Europe, the Empress of Europe (or at the very least of Germany) has now called on German industry to do more about hiring more refugees right here in Germany itself.

Merkel

“Sheesh. We’ve already hired over a hundred (that’s one one and two zeros),” one irritable spokesman for German blue-chip companies lamented. “From the million or two that came into the country last year that’s, well, a pretty good start. Rome wasn’t built in a day, you know. Nor destroyed in a day, for that matter. An empress ought to know this kind of stuff.”

“Given that around 80 percent of asylum seekers are not highly qualified and may not yet have a high level of German proficiency, we have primarily offered jobs that do not require technical skills or a considerable amount of interaction in German.”

German Of The Day: Dreck Am Stecken

That means there is dirt stuck (to you) somewhere or you have dirt under your carpet – as in having done something wrong or illegal.

Dreck

You know, like Volkswagen has/does in US-Amerika? The company inserted a device into almost 500,000 cars meant to trick emissions testing, the EPA says. Volkswagen is not denying this.

So the next time Germans begin those tiring lectures about doing more for the Umwelt (another German word meaning environment), remember to make sure and check if their emissions are make-believe or not.

There are almost 500,000 vehicles on American roads with the devices installed, according to the EPA. Volkswagen must now pay to repair the emissions systems in affected cars. The government may also fine the company as much as $18 billion.

German Of The Day: König Kunde

That sounds a bit like King Kong but actually means king customer or the customer is king, if you prefer. And it’s nice to be the king, as you well know.

Uncle Sam

For decades, France was the single biggest importer of German goods. But that’s changed now. The United States has taken the pole position among clients for “Made in Germany” goods for the first time.

Seit dem Jahr 1961 kauft kein Land so viele deutsche Produkte wie Frankreich. Das hat sich nun geändert. Und auch damit zu tun, dass Amerika wieder mehr auf die Industrie setzt.

PS: But thank goodness Germany still has its trade with ten foot tall China, too.